Cynicism: The Muse

July 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

I used to watch Rob Reiner’s Alex and Emma every Sunday while I folded laundry. Folding laundry is an incredibly boring task, and unfortunately it requires more attention than the minimum. Alex and Emma tells the story of a writer, Alex, who needs to write a novel within a month, and hires the services of a stenographer, Emma. They have a rocky start, due to Alex’s writer’s block, and the novel ends up being as poorly written as the film itself. It is corny and generic, but I guess it was as much a satire as a rom-com. At moments when my head falls into a haze and nothing’s coming out right on paper, I can’t help but remember something Emma asks Alex: What happens when the muses stop smiling?

For centuries, writers have had so-called Muses: beautiful Greek mythos who fill them up with inspiration and ideas. When the muses smile upon you, your piece of writing will become extraordinary. However, I never believed in Muses. I always believed that inspiration stems from neurological activity, the impulses that flit between neurones. They become excited when you react to a sight or an event or some uplifting piece of music. Hormones are released, the neurones open the archives and words come tumbling out. Everybody has the ability to write creatively, but it takes practice and a venerable amount of words in your vocabulary.

So what is my point here? My point is that Muses don’t exist and we’ve got to find our own inspiration instead of waiting for it to be handed down to us by some nonexistent entity. It is easy to put the blame for lack of creativity on something else. And this is why I am cynical of Muses.


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